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3 Key Words: Research and innovation for health, national health research systems, human resources for health research, financing for health research, Latin America, conference ISBN Copyright and Fair Use We are pleased to make this report freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence (for conditions, see You are free to share, to copy, distribute and transmit this work, under the following conditions: You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). You may not use this work for commercial purposes. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to the following web page Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder. Nothing in this license impairs or restricts the author s moral rights. This report is the English translation of the conference report: original title: 1a Conferencia Latinoamericana sobre Investigación e Innovación para la Salud. Informe de la Conferencia. Resultados y documentos. Translated from Spanish by Ocean Translations (Argentina). Executive Committee, first Latin American Conference on Research and Innovation for Health, 2008.

4 1st Latin American Conference Acknowledgements This report of the first Latin American Conference on Research and Innovation for Health has been prepared by Jorge Laucirica, rapporteur of the meeting, under the direction of the Conference Executive Committee. The Executive Committee consists of the Ministry of Health of Brazil (Department of Science and Technology), the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED), the Global Forum for Health Research, INSalud Mexico, the NicaSalud Network Federation, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO). Financial support for the meeting was provided by the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED), the Global Forum for Health Research, the Ministry of Health of Brazil (Department of Science and Technology), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), and the Wellcome Trust. A special thanks goes to all the participants, facilitators, rapporteurs and speakers at the Conference, for their contributions and enthusiastic participation. 4

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6 1st Latin American Conference 6 Contents 6 Main conference messages 7 Executive summary Two major responses placing health at the service of equitable development What each country can do What can be done within the region? 11 Introduction Organizers, participants and objectives Format and working groups Context and challenges The advantages of Latin America when facing the challenges of NHRS Linking research to social demands The relationship of developing countries to health research and innovation Challenges and trends in health research Moving towards strengthening the national systems in the region Global panorama of health research Health research in Latin America Health innovation and research: how to correct asymmetries Case studies on conference themes National Health Research Systems a) Mexico case study b) Argentina case study Financing for health research Chile sectoral funds case study Human resources for health research Nicaragua case study Innovation, product development and access Brazil case study Innovation and neglected diseases Technical cooperation I Ibero-American Ministerial Network for Health Education and Research (RIMAIS) Policy for the promotion of health research in Spain Technical cooperation and research contacts in the Caribbean Health and Canada s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Technical cooperation II Ibero-American Network on Science and Technology Indicators (RICYT) Technical cooperation between France and Latin America, AMSUD-Pasteur Programme Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) The Wellcome Trust Reports from working groups National Health Research Systems Financing research for health Human resources for health research Innovation, product development and access Summary and outlook 37 Appendix 1 Programme 39 Appendix 2 List of participants 48 Appendix 3 Working group reports

7 Research and Innovation for Health Main conference messages The strengthening and stewardship of National Health Research Systems (NHRS) along with regional cooperation are vital for facing ongoing health challenges in a context of inequality, delay in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, epidemiological changes, food crises, and significant demographic changes that are detrimental to the poorest countries. The stewardship and governance of NHRS are the responsibility of the State and should be actively pursued through the Ministries of Health, with support from other state actors and civil society. This is the only way to coordinate research and innovation with the priorities of social development and public health, and to guarantee consistency in the allocation of funds and training of human resources for research. Each country must act according to its needs, resources and opportunities. The review of some experiences in the region in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina shows that it is possible to achieve concrete results in the short and midterm. In order for NHRS to be sustainable, a coordinated human resource development and training strategy is required. Researchers should be trained while working on projects that are related to NHRS priorities. Training should be more comprehensive and should be coordinated with the production sector. Research teams should be multidisciplinary and stable. With regard to financing, it is essential that there be consistency between the allocation of resources and NHRS priorities, and that innovative strategies to generate funds be sought out, such as levies on industrial products that impact the burden of disease and death. It is equally important to be aware of and evaluate how resources are allocated and used; this requires a public registry of all research activity. Cooperation within Latin America is crucial to supporting NHRS, correcting asymmetries and reconciling the interests of intellectual property with those of public health. In this regard, existing capabilities, resources, agreements and networks need to be assessed in order to take advantage of them effectively and efficiently, and to create strategies and plans based on common and complementary interests. International technical cooperation enables countries to overcome their limitations in information, financing and technology. There are many opportunities for sharing resources, training officials and researchers, exchanging experiences, developing and marketing drugs for neglected diseases, and accessing research funds. H e a l t h c h a l l e n g e s c a n b e co m e opportunities through technological and social innovations that are not necessarily costly. Examples can be found within the region; from agreements that allow the Brazilian government to access information belonging to the private sector to partnerships through which new drugs for malaria have been developed and marketed at cost. 7

8 1st Latin American Conference Executive summary The First Latin America Conference on Research and Innovation for Health sought practical answers in order to confront a shared challenge in the region: how to ensure that research deals with the countries health priorities and contributes to equitable development in Latin America (LA). To that end, emphasis was put on the creation, development and strengthening of National Health Research Systems (NHRS) as well as the use of regional cooperation as a means of taking advantage of existing resources and reducing asymmetries. The meeting took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from April 15 to 18, Some 120 strategic actors attended: officials from countries in the region in the fields of health, science and technology (S&T); representatives from technical cooperation and development agencies; national, regional and worldwide research networks and organizations; and specialists from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Present at the opening ceremony were PAHO director, Mirta Roses; the representative of PAHO in Brazil, Diego Victoria; and the Secretary of Science, Technology and Strategic Inputs from Brazil s Ministry of Health, Reinaldo Guimarães. The organizing of the event was the result of a partnership between the Brazilian Ministry of Health, PAHO, the Coordinating Commission for National Institutes of Health and High Specialty Hospitals of Mexico (INSalud), the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED), the NicaSalud Network Federation and the Global Forum for Health Research (Global Forum). The conference was financed by PAHO, the Brazilian Ministry of Health, the Wellcome Trust (London, UK), COHRED, the Global Forum and the UNICEF/UNDP/ World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR). The Conference produced 14 reports on NHRS in different countries (see complete reports at publications/background_papers.php) which constitute the first reference material of its kind in the region; multiple work contacts between countries, networks, international agencies and funders; information regarding new programmes, scholarships and sources of support; a preliminary agreement for the sub-regional cooperation in Central America; and the commitment to hold a second conference in order to evaluate progress, with the venue and date still to be determined. In four working groups, participants d i s c u s s e d a n d p ro v i d e d a s e r i e s of definitions and recommendations regarding the conference s core points, which will serve as input for drafting national policies on health research and for defining strategies to develop and strengthen NHRS. The results from the conference can be used by governments and regional civil society organizations in order to agree on an input to the Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health, which will be held in Bamako, Mali, in November of Conclusions from the meeting will also contribute to designing PAHO research policy as well as that of other international agencies concerned with health. A summary of the main recommendations can be found below (see complete reports in Appendix 3). 8

9 Research and Innovation for Health Two major responses placing health at the service of equitable development The strengthening and stewardship of NHRS and regional cooperation are vital to facing challenges in health care and promoting equitable development in Latin America. Therefore, health research and the equitable distribution of its results and benefits must be a top-level priority in the national and regional political agenda, in a democratic environment and with citizen participation. What each country can do All groups agreed on one strategic vision: NHRS stewardship including research, development and distribution of technologies, is the State s responsibility and cannot be delegated. This is the only effective way to combine research and innovation with development and public health priorities. In order to make this vision a reality, the following strategic lines of action were proposed: The State must exercise stewardship and governance of NHRS through the Ministry of Health and with the support of other state and non-state actors. NHRS must set and update research priorities to optimize resources and respond to the health system needs and national development objectives. The allocation of funds and the training of human resources for health research must be linked to these priorities through stable, participative and transparent mechanisms. It is also necessary to collect and evaluate information regarding resource allocation and use. NHRS must foster a political, legal and educational environment that favours research focused on equitable development. This requires establishing regulatory frameworks that do not change according to the administration in power; integrating science, technology and innovation systems into the daily NHRS operations; using scientific information to create health policies in a participatory way; and offering incentives to work in research, with the goal of generating and retaining a critical mass of scientists. The groups recommended specific actions on a number of fronts. In relation to the regulatory frameworks, there was a push for creating and enforcing laws that safeguard ethics in research and establishing bodies that monitor activity and guarantee the recording of information. Expanding the debate regarding the informed consent of indigenous populations and other vulnerable groups was also recommended. With regard to human resources training, the following was suggested: Train and educate researchers through work on projects that are related to NHRS priorities. Establish evaluation systems for researchers that include new assessment criteria, such as a project s positive externalities from research projects. Form interdisciplinary groups with a broad vision for health research, promote stability of those teams, and promote training of scientific and non-scientific staff. Facilitate coordination with productive sectors. Provide more comprehensive training that aims at improving the methodological quality of proposals, respect for ethical 9

10 1st Latin American Conference principles, project management, group work, and communication and use of the research results. Promote early education in science and technology. In regards to financing with national funds, the following was recommended: Seek innovative strategies for obtaining funds, such as taxes on industries that increase the incidence of disease and death (tobacco, alcohol and automobiles). Include health research agreements in loans from multilateral banks. When allocating funds, the quality of projects should be taken into account; however training and academic qualifications should not be a hurdle to access. Raise awareness among healthcare administrators and managers, and decision makers regarding public health investments, about the strategic advantages and the added value resulting from research. Regarding innovation, the following was recommended: strengthening drug regulatory agencies; providing transparency in the context of public procurement; promoting public access to products of social and technological innovation; and incorporating traditional medicines into the innovation cycle in an explicit manner, paying attention to the equitable distribution of the resulting benefits. In order to organize NHRS, assessing available capabilities and creating national data bases regarding researchers, research groups and scientific and technological production were suggested. These steps were also considered useful for orienting human resources training, funding research and fostering innovation. What can be done within the region? The conference advocated a common strategic vision: regional cooperation is a key factor in supporting NHRS, reconciling the interests of intellectual property with public health interests and reducing asymmetries in information, funding and technology. In order to implement this vision, lines of action have been laid out that seek to take advantage of existing capabilities, and specific actions have been proposed regarding these different lines. A summary of those proposals is shown below: Create strategies and cooperative projects based on common and complementary interests. This requires actions such as the following: Catalogue, spread awareness of and utilize available cooperation agencies in order to train human resources, exchange experiences, access research funds and develop and market drugs for neglected diseases. Exchange experiences regarding research management, funding, researcher training, and processes and methodologies for defining priorities. Encourage multi-centre research projects that seek joint funding in order to favour international participation by NHRS. Promote studies on the burden of disease to help define priorities for cooperation in the region. Take advantage of and adapt the S&T information systems available. Establish a more fluid dialogue with technical cooperation and financing agencies to take advantage of the opportunities they offer for human resources training. 10

11 Research and Innovation for Health Face the challenge of reconciling the interests of the intellectual property and public health within the region. For this purpose, the following were proposed: Use as a reference the response model of the WHO Inter-Governmental Working Group on Innovation, Public Health and Intellectual Property (IGWG). Invite both the health sector and civil society to take an active role in discussing intellectual property rights and public health. Include in the discussion an assessment of measures protecting intellectual property and possible compensatory mechanisms. Focus technology transfer on diseases that are not of commercial interest and affect those with the fewest resources. Among other actions, the following were suggested: Identify and optimize the region s pharmaceutical production capacity, and define cooperative actions. Facilitate access to products of good quality manufactured in the region, as occurs with the Revolving Fund for Vaccine Procurement and the Strategic Fund for medicines procurement, managed by PAHO. Support initiatives that promote free access to scientific information, such as registries for clinical trials and their outcomes, virtual libraries, etc. Harmonize existing regulatory frameworks and processes in the different countries. For this purpose, the following were recommended: Coordinate the processes for regulating drugs and assessing products of innovation in the region. Create a Code of Conduct for international funders. Foster compliance with the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform and its extrapolation to other types of studies, with mandatory enrolment. International agencies for technical cooperation, in particular PAHO, COHRED and the Global Forum, can accompany NHRS development and contribute to the continuity of multinational initiatives. 11

12 1st Latin American Conference Introduction Latin America (LA) is replete with contrasts and paradoxes that raise huge challenges when it comes to constructing a better future. The region shows macro economic stability, strong growth rates and democracies that are becoming stronger. 1 At the same time, inequality and extreme poverty persist. 2 Socioeconomic, developmental and educational indicators vary greatly between the countries and within each country. Health is not an exception: The burden of disease is heavier on those that have the least and the resources needed to reverse this are spread thin, underused and poorly distributed. 3 Given this context, how can we improve the quality of life of Latin-Americans through health research, taking into account the needs of those with the least and the priorities of each country? This challenge motivated the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) to propose the first consultation meeting with researchers and officials from various countries and international organizations that work in Latin America. The meeting was held in Antigua, Guatemala, in August of 2006, and therein was decided that a regional conference would be held, focused on the creation, development and strengthening of National Health Research Systems (NHRS) aimed at guiding, improving and evaluating research and health innovation in Latin America. Organizers, participants and objectives From this proposal was born the First Latin American Conference on Research and Innovation for Health, which was held in Rio de Janeiro from April 15 to 18, The Brazilian Ministry of Health hosted the meeting and was the first to sponsor it. For the organization of the event, a partnership was created among the Brazilian Ministry of Health, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED), the Global Forum for Health Research (Global Forum), the Coordinating Commission of National Institutes of Health and High-Specialty Hospitals of Mexico (INSalud) and the NicaSalud Network Federation. These partners met periodically for a year and a half, in both face-to-face and virtual meetings, in order to determine the event agenda and format. The conference was funded by PAHO, the Brazilian Ministry of Health, the Wellcome Trust (London, UK), COHRED, the Global Forum and the WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR). In order to guarantee a balance both geographically and institutionally, the meeting was by invitation only and gathered around 120 participants from all over Latin America; among them officials from Ministries of Health and science and technology institutions (S&T), representatives from funding agencies and members of organizations that work in health research and policies (see list of participants in Appendix 2). Although the meeting focused on Latin American countries, researchers from the English-speaking Caribbean also took part. The presence of PAHO director, Mirta Roses, in the opening ceremony confirmed the importance of the conference at a regional 1 Development Centre of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Latin American Economic Outlook Paris: OECDpublishing, Available at fiordiliji.sourceoecd.org/upload/ e.pdf 2 Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Social Panorama of Latin America Santiago de Chile: ECLAC, Available at publicaciones/xml/9/30309/p30309.xml&xsl=/dds/tpl-i/p9f.xsl&base=/tpl/top-bottom.xslt 3 Millennium Development Goals: La progresión hacia el derecho a la salud en América Latina y el Caribe. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Santiago de Chile: CEPAL, Available at 12

13 Research and Innovation for Health level. The World Health Organization (WHO) regional director in Africa, Luis Gomes Sambo; PAHO representative in Brazil, Diego Victoria; the secretary of Science, Technology and Strategic Resources of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, Reinaldo Guimarães; and the chairman of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Paulo Buss, among others, attended the meeting. As working objectives, the organizers proposed analyzing the successes and challenges in the development of NHRS; strengthening the links between the health research and other S&T sectors, determining strategies and actions for regional cooperation, stimulating partnerships to reduce inequity in health care, fostering development through research, and increasing interest from both foreign and national cooperation agencies and donors to support this process. Seeking to turn these objectives into concrete actions, both nationally and regionally, organizers posed the need to obtain short and mid-term results that may be evaluated in a second conference. The summary of this report is intended for immediate use by the Ministries of Health of the participating countries and the region s civil society organizations to agree upon criteria that look ahead to the Global Ministerial Forum of Research for Health, scheduled to be held in Bamako, Mali, in November of Format and working groups The conference dealt with four central topics as well as one umbrella concern that tied in with all four: regional collaboration and collaboration with researchers and sources of support from the developed countries. The topics were: National Health Research Systems, including strategies to reinforce them; processes for establishing research priorities; development of research policies; system management; reference frameworks for bioethics and coordination with other systems of science and technology. Financing for research for health, with emphasis on the identification of innovative strategies for the funding of systems and of national priorities, which includes and coordinates the public and private sectors. Innovation, product development and access. Interactions between health research and the production sector were examined. Ways to re-orient systems of innovation towards national priorities were analyzed, as well as how to improve the use of research results, with emphasis on equity. Human resources for health research. Methods were discussed to foster individual, institutional and systemic capabilities as well as to evaluate the outcome of these actions. The sessions had an interactive format, which alternated between plenary presentations on global issues and case studies, with working groups that analyzed the proposed subjects (see Programme in Appendix 1), using the preparatory documents as a starting point (see publications/background_papers.php). The groups submitted their conclusions in a plenary session (see the text of the working group reports in Appendix 3). In turn, the delegations from the different countries prepared and submitted reports on the current situation and perspectives regarding their National Health Research Systems (see publications/background_papers.php). Which allowed these experiences to be systemized (in some cases, for the first time), offered concrete points of reference at a regional level and contributed to the exchange of action oriented ideas. 13

14 1st Latin American Conference 1. The context and the challenges Tuesday, 15 April 2008 The opening ceremony captured the essential paradox of Latin America, where a historical and philosophical inclination towards the value of solidarity has not been enough to reverse profound health inequalities. The speakers emphasized the need for national policies and regional collaboration that make the most of comparative advantages and allow for aligning the use of resources and research with the priorities of each country and the region. The case of Brazil shows the potential, limitations and challenges of the region. The advantages of Latin America facing the challenge of NHRS Carel IJsselmuiden, COHRED director The COHRED director focused on the concept of National Health Research Systems as an appropriate tool to strengthen and evaluate research for health in Latin America. Likewise, the director proposed speaking about research for health and not research in health, a change of focus that incorporates the economic, social, historical and cultural determinants for health, and which fosters better coordination with other research areas, such as economics, science and technology. IJsselmuiden highlighted that Latin America has some advantages that may facilitate the development of research and innovation for health: similarities among the official languages; several centres of excellence in the region and, therefore, less need for importing technology; a legitimate interest in collaboration at a regional level; and a tradition of solidarity that is critical when determining if the results of research will benefit all or just a few. Therefore, he urged capitalizing on these strategic advantages in order to strengthen NHRS. Link research with social demands Mirta Roses, PAHO Director Mirta Roses underlined the importance of the meeting for the discussion of regional health policies. With regard to this, she said that PAHO has been developing a strategy and a research policy for health for some time, in collaboration with the Ministries of Health in each country. This process was reflected in the Health Agenda for the Americas , where research is linked with at least eight of the central topics. 4 Among the favourable trends for improving the orientation and the results of health research, she highlighted the growing interest of civil society in participating in the discussion about free trade innovations and agreements, and patents. She agreed with Carel IJsselmuiden regarding the comparative strengths of the region, and added that the countries are little by little tailoring human resources training towards research. But she also drew attention to new challenges for health, such as violence and aging; she recalled that Latin America continues to be the least equitable region on the planet ; and she stated that the question about how to link research with social demands has not yet been answered. Finally, she called for making the most of the region s limited resources for research. 4 See 14

15 Research and Innovation for Health The relationship of developing countries to health research and innovation Reinaldo Guimarães, Secretary of Science, Technology and Strategic Inputs, Ministry of Health, Brazil, on behalf of the Minister of Health, José Gomes Temporão. After recalling that 97% of research and development activities (R&D) are carried out in 42 developed countries, Guimarães said that some developing countries, such as Brazil, India and China are seeking a more competitive position. Since the late 90s, Brazil has been following a policy aimed at developing its system for innovation. Thus the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology were included among the priorities of industrial policy, two sectoral funds were created with public and private resources, and an Innovation Act was approved in order to regulate the partnerships between private industry and the universities and non-profit research institutes. Regarding vaccines and sera production, the aim is to move from self-sufficiency to competitiveness, supporting national producers so that they may penetrate the international market, through technology transfer agreements and partnerships with universities and research institutes. The scenario is different for the medicines market, where almost all production is private. Here the purchasing power of the State is applied through the Unified Health System (SUS), to foster domestic production and lower prices. At the same time, steps are taken to define which medicines are strategic, in order to produce them domestically, and attempts are made to apply the public health safeguards included in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The speaker talked about the difficulties involved in establishing partnerships with the private sector in a predatory market, in which multinational companies absorb those Brazilian producers that are innovative. The relationship between the industrial complex and the health system is very complicated; but we must understand it and intervene with conviction in order to place the market at the service of public health, he said. 15

16 1st Latin American Conference 2. Challenges and trends in health research Wednesday 16 April 2008 Chair: Susanne Jacob Serruya, Director, Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Health, Brazil The panel underscored the strategic significance of managing NHRS with strength and autonomy, in order to bring priorities into line with a vision of health as a social asset and a tool of economic development. The strengthening and stewardship of NHRS and regional cooperation are vital to facing health challenges in a context of delay in achieving the MDGs, epidemiological changes, food crises, profound demographic changes that hurt the poorest countries and growing urbanization without adequate structures. To promote health research and innovation, available in Latin America at costs which are too low, the countries must seek a balance between the priorities of public health and those of health markets, and take advantage of and enrich regional platform organizations, policies and networks. Strengthening National Health Research Systems in the region Francisco Becerra, Senior Advisor, COHRED, Latin America Having defined NHRS (see Box 1), the speaker advocated for the active and autonomous management of NHRS essential functions. If neither a country s government nor one of its organizations exercises governance and stewardship, then someone else will manage things from outside, with their own agenda, he warned. Given that, he called for defining a national policy that establishes priorities in a participatory manner, for transparency in linking financing to these priorities, for using new knowledge to outline health policies, for improving healthcare and for informing public opinion. He called for partnerships between countries in the region, along with PAHO and other organizations that are concerned with the issue, such as COHRED and the Global Forum, in order to support strengthening NHRS, share successful experiences and foster cooperation between national systems. The speaker noted that development of NHRS in the region has been very uneven. On the one hand, he highlighted advances and successful experiences in Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba and Argentina. On the other hand, he stated that most systems operate based on priorities, or else these priorities are established by the most powerful groups. He also pointed out that the diverse components within NHRS are overly extended and poorly coordinated and that financing plans are inefficient. Box 1-What is a national health research system? Individuals and institutions that govern, manage, coordinate, demand, create, communicate or use evidence resulting from research to promote, restore, improve, or maintain the state of health and development of a population. Health research systems govern, steward, manage and finance research, they generate and utilize knowledge and develop capabilities. Francisco Becerra, Senior Advisor, COHRED, Latin America. We have a huge number of building blocks thrown in a pile; we need to organize them and give them structure and resilience in order to build a strong and sustainable system, he said. We need a plan to take on this task, though ideally, each country would strengthen its own system using its particular development plan. 16

17 Research and Innovation for Health Global panorama of health research Stephen Matlin, Executive Director, Global Forum for Health Research Stephen Matlin spoke about five global challenges in health and how they impact Latin America: Most countries are not on the path to achieving the MDGs. Reducing maternal and child mortality are the goals that are farthest from reaching. Malnutrition is the forgotten MDG, and has a large impact on children under five year s old and pregnant women. Since 2007, the increase of the price of food has aggravated the problem on global scale. In this context, he highlighted conditional cash transfers as an important innovation, particularly in Latin America. The low and middle incomes countries are overwhelmed by a combination of communicable and non-communicable diseases, maternal and perinatal problems, and malnutrition. In the Americas, noninfectious diseases make up the largest part of the burden of disease. Demographic changes have a large impact: In the last 50 years, the world population doubled, and it will double again in the coming decades; in 68 countries, more than 40% of the population is under the age of 15. Since 2007, and for the first time in the history, there is a larger population in urban areas than in rural ones; however cities lack infrastructure and services, which increases the risk of infectious diseases. Global warming is causing an increase in weatherrelated disasters, with the strongest impact falling on developing countries. People are dying at progressively older ages, but there is great disparity between countries. Being rich does not mean living longer, but being poor does mean living a shorter life, he said. This will cause resources to be absorbed by countries where there is a longer life expectancy. Along these lines, the speaker wondered aloud why some LA countries do not have the life expectancy that their average income would indicate. He also noted that in that region, poor people receive more resources and attention in the public sector than rich people but that doesn t speak to the kind of resources nor the quality of attention they receive. There is growing interest in building and strengthening health care systems, but the lack of data hinders this task. Many systems are poorly equipped and scarcely funded; furthermore, they do not use scientific evidence as the foundation for outlining policies and allocating resources. Resources for R&D increased a great deal in the last two decades, however, only a small percentage is allotted for the needs of countries with medium and low incomes. Furthermore, very few of these countries have fulfilled the recommendation made by the Commission on Health Research for Development, in 1990, to invest at least 2% of the budget in health and the 5% of development aid in health research. After stating that the wealth of a society is not measured by the income of the richest, but by that of the poorest, Matlin went on to say that the challenge is to see how research plays into this. 17

18 1st Latin American Conference Health research in Latin America Luis Gabriel Cuervo, Research, Promotion and Development Team Leader, Technology, Health Care and Research Area, PAHO According to an assessment carried out in the Americas in 2002, research to develop and apply innovative solutions is one of the most underdeveloped essential public health functions in the region. The study revealed large inequalities in the evaluated areas and a very low capacity for research planning. In order to improve this situation PAHO, along with national Ministries of Health and other interested parties, is pushing a series of initiatives: A health research policy linked to the WHO s global research strategy. An international clinical trials registry platform, with transparent publishing of what will be researched and how it will be researched, and in which trials can be uniquely identified. Countries will receive support to develop their own registries, so they can in turn supply information to the international platform. A single portal to bring research information together in one place. Research networks such as the Evidence- Informed Policy Network (EVIPnet), which has 10 national teams to connect producers to research users 5 ; the Ibero-American Ministerial Network Health Education and Research (RIMAIS) 6 and the Pan- Amazonian Network of Science, Technology and Innovation in Health 7. Support the inclusion of health-related research on the health care agenda of countries in the region. A milestone in that regard was the 2004 Ministerial Summit on Health Research in Mexico. There, governments were asked for funding, research policies, NHRS, quality research and implementation of findings. Funding agencies were requested to make sure their lines of research coincided with countries priorities. All parties were requested to make the results of the research known, because there is a lot of repetition and many things are neglected. They were also requested to make use of those results and to distribute information about them in formats that are useful to communities. The Mexico declaration was endorsed in 2005 by the 58th World Health Assembly and the WHO fostered a series of initiatives to promote the requested changes. In the Americas, PAHO made its technical cooperation policy and its expected results consistent with those of WHO. Launching the Health Agenda for the Americas in June It is difficult to find action areas that are part of the agenda in which health research is not important, Cuervo said. These developments establish the political framework and the agreements upon which NHRS must now be strengthened, he concluded. 5 See =es 6 See 7 See 18

19 Research and Innovation for Health Innovation and health research: How to correct asymmetries Reinaldo Guimarães, Secretary of Science, Technology and Strategic Inputs, Ministry of Health, Brazil In the context of brutal asymmetry between the North and the South, developing countries have been searching for mechanisms and establishing strategic partnerships to develop their NHRS. However, constructing a system with sustainable innovation that is integrated into health systems is a complicated process, which is related both to the level of economic development of that country and to the potential of their health industry (public and private). By analyzing some data and processes, it is clear that Brazil has a strong research system, where the Ministry of Health assumes a leadership role, with concrete results: 30% of the national research effort is for health. The drafting of the National Policy for Science, Technology and Innovation in Health, and of the National Agenda of Priorities in Health Research have been very important in this process. These came about through a broad participatory process involving roughly 15,000 people. Still, the challenges are complex. Productive capacity in the health sector is not completely developed; the industrial balance for this sector is negative and there is little correlation between producing scientific goods and acquiring patents. To overcome these challenges, the Ministry of Health formed the National Policy for Managing Technology in Health; it makes strategic partnerships (for example, with the National Economic and Social Development Bank) and is using the State s buying power to promote the development of the national industries, according to the country s priorities. Referring to research to produce strategic inputs (medicine, vaccines, equipment), the government is trying to improve coordination between industrial, health and S&T policies, and to increase participation by the private sector in research, product development and innovation (currently, the State provides most of the funding). The Ministry of Health has been concentrating its efforts on strengthening national production in order to supply the domestic market at a low cost. Guimarães also argued for intellectual property agreements that would benefit developing countries. Brazil is against the TRIPS Plus agreement, because it impedes the construction of a proper NHRS and does not favour protecting public health, he said. Our position consists of institutionalizing the Intergovernmental Working Group on Innovation, Public Health and Intellectual Property (IGWG) within the WHO, so that countries can defend the health of their peoples. 19

20 1st Latin American Conference 3. Case studies on conference themes Wednesday, 16 April 2008 Chair: John Lavis, Associate Professor, McMaster University, Canada; President of the PAHO/WHO Advisory Committee on Health Research These case studies confirmed that it is possible to achieve both short and mid-term benefits coordinating priorities for national development, public health and research. Every country must do so while paying attention to its particular circumstances; this includes even taking advantage of serious crises, as in the case of Argentina. Health challenges can become opportunities through technological and social innovations that are not necessarily costly. Research policies and systems should include civil society organizations as valuable resources for research and communication with communities. Using specified funds in order to guide research appears advantageous, but it requires more assessment. The importance of sharing successful experiences, such as statefunded production of medicine in Brazil, was gleaned from the discussion. National Health Research Systems a. Mexico case study Rodolfo Cano Jiménez, Director of Health Research, Ministry of Health, Mexico Health and health research are included in the National Development Plan (NDP). One of the five central points of public policy drafted in this plan aims to ensure equal opportunities and four of its objectives are linked to health, among them, guaranteeing that health contributes to overcoming poverty and to human development in the country. One of the strategies consists of consolidating health research and knowledge in the medical sciences that are linked to creating patents and to developing the national industry. The government put a National Health Plan (NHP) into effect, adjusted to the NDP, which offers an overview of the national health system for This is the first time a national plan aims to strengthen health and education research in order to contribute to the development of knowledge and human resources. Simultaneously, the Secretary of Health and the National Council for Science and Technology have set the grounds for collaboration across sectors through the Special Programme for Science, Technology and Innovation , which details the steps Mexico needs to take in order to be at the forefront in science, technology and innovation for The Programme of Specific Actions Health Research traces lines of action in areas such as biomedicine, clinical research, technological development, bioethics, and social sciences linked to public health. To guarantee financing, the government has established a Sectoral Fund for Research in Health and Social Security that has already approved 10 grant proposals totalling 88 million dollars. In the operative plan, the Coordinating Commission of the National Institutes of Health and High-Specialty Hospitals supervises the work of 20 institutions dedicated to research. It proposes support policies and strategies, stimulates training of researchers and fosters ties with the private sector. Mexico also has a national indicator system to evaluate health services, programmes and systems. We have a well-adapted comprehensive system, where the Secretary of Health is the governing body, Cano said when asked about NHRS level of organization. But he made clear that some aspects of the system are not yet integrated. The registration of researchers is partial since each institution has its own registry, he said, as an example. 20

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